Sharing the joy

| 08 Feb 2012 | 04:52

    I need to make a confession. I know, this isn’t the time or place. I can’t help it. I need to get this off my chest. Now.

    I cheated. There. I said it. It’s out there, in front of Google and everybody.

    I’m a cheater. I looked at the 2012 Super Bowl commercials BEFORE the Super Bowl.

    And now I feel so.. I don’t know.. un-super.

    For whatever its worth, I held out until five days before the Super Bowl – that should count for something, shouldn’t it? But they were out there online, beckoning me to view. So alluring. So available. I couldn’t resist. So I didn’t.

    In my view, the commercials are the best part of the Super Bowl broadcast each year. Sure, I like the game. And usually the presentation of The National Anthem is nice – even touching. And the halftime entertainment is usually a great opportunity to get another round of Diet Dr Pepper, nachos and wings.

    But the real draw for me is the commercials, especially the ones that were specifically designed with the huge Super Bowl audience in mind. Companies pay a lot for the privilege of parading their respective wares in front of that audience – as much as $3.5 million for a 30-second spot, according to ABC News – and they tend to make every effort to take full advantage of their moment in the Super spotlight, with commercials that are often more entertaining than the game itself.

    So watching them before the actual Super Bowl broadcast feels a little like finding out where your presents are hidden and looking at them before Christmas morning. Or ordering your own birthday cake. Or getting a sneak-peak at the new super hero movie, “The Avengers,” which is one of the Super Bowl commercials I.. sort of.. you know.. sneak-peaked.

    Once I started watching, I couldn’t stop. From “The Avengers” trailer it was a quick click to the Audi ad (vampire party!), then to the Hyundai ad (“Rocky” theme!), then to the Acura ad (jet pack flying squirrel suit!), then to the Volkswagen ad (“The Empire Barks Back”)!, then to the Honda ad (Bueller’s back!) and before you could say “field-goal-kicking-Clysdales” I had watched every new Super Bowl ad I could find on the internet – as well as a few classics from the past (that Mean Joe Green Pepsi ad gets me every time).

    I sat there for a while, feeling gluttonously guilty, sort of like how I felt that night when I snuck into the fridge and ate the entire coconut cream pie the night BEFORE Thanksgiving. And I was wondering: now what do I have to look forward to on Sunday? I mean besides the game and the wings and the little hot dogs in barbecue sauce?

    But then it occurred to me: Christmas isn’t worse now that I know most of the presents that are being given before they are opened. In fact, it’s even better to know what someone else is going to open, to anticipate their reaction and then share in their joy.

    It’s that way in most areas of our lives. Think about it for a second: what’s your first thought when you stumble upon something really funny or moving or spiritually uplifting online? You think about who you can forward it to, right? That’s because it is not only more “blessed” to give than to receive, it is usually a lot more fun.

    So this Sunday, while I won’t be actually giving the Super Bowl commercials to those who will be watching the game with me, I will still be anxiously anticipating their reactions to the best ones. And when they laugh, I will laugh right along with them, enjoying their moment of delightful discovery even more than I enjoyed my own.

    And with nary a thing to confess.

    (To read more by Joseph B. Walker please go to